Voices and Pasta Salad

People  can be fairly attractive…until they start talking.

I had a first date with a guy that looked very good on paper and in pictures. (Yes people, I resorted to online dating. I work far too much to meet guys out in public.) He had a steady job, loved dogs, and worked out.

Then I met him in person.

I should probably take a moment to say that many people that I met while online dating were new to the city or worked too much to meet people in a bar, like me. (Plus meeting people in a bar is always a risk, since you never know how they’ll look the next morning…story about that to follow soon.)

So here I was, waiting for my date to show up. He was late…15 minutes late. On the other hand, I do live in a city, so you tend to be a bit more forgiving in case someone missed the bus or train or got stuck in traffic.  Granted, I had planned ahead of time not to be late, so I was 10 minutes early…which meant that I was waiting for almost 30 minutes. (Mom had a nice phone call there to pass the time.)

My date showed up, gave me a hug, and then started talking.

And that is when I was no longer attracted to him…

…he had the voice of a child. MY VOICE was deeper than his, if that tells you anything. My niece’s voice is actually probably deeper than his was, and my adorable munchkin is all of 20 months old.

For the next hour and a half, he went on and on in his really high pitched voice about how he needs to get married soon because his parents keep pressuring him, and it really needs to happen in the next year. He might have mentioned something else in this conversation, but that was the point he kept coming back to and making. Marriage in a year. Marriage in a year.

I really should have left when he didn’t show up in time.

Stuff It and Shut Up Pasta Salad

stuff your face and stop talking already

Ingredients

  • 1 lb tricolor rotini pasta
  • 1 bottle fat free italian dressing
  • 2-3 large tomatoes, diced (depends on how many tomatoes you like in your pasta salad)
  • 1 lb mushrooms, sliced thinly
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • Salt
  • Pepper

How-to

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions in well-salted water. Drain and rinse once with cold water.
  2. Place pasta in a large bowl. Add half the container of italian dressing. Refridgerate overnight (this allows the warm pasta to absorb some of the dressing).
  3. Before serving, add the rest of the italian dressing, tomatoes, green peppers, and mushrooms. Salt and pepper to taste.

Feel free to add any other vegetables (olives, cucumbers, etc) that you may like! You can add the vegetables to the pasta before chilling, but you won’t have as much of a contrast in textures.

This also keeps well in the fridge in the off-chance you have leftovers!

“Breakups” and Wild Mushroom Lasagna

There is such a thing as a stupid request.

I was casually dating a guy. He was the sort of guy that was nice enough, but not really my type overall as I was quickly realizing. You know the guys that it would be better to have just been friends as opposed to date? He fell into that category…hence the “casually dating”. I was planning on ending it myself, but I knew he was really stressed with work (so I was barely seeing him anyway) so I figured I’d wait at least a little bit to not add to the stress.

One day, he came over to my house for dinner. I had just made an amazing lasagna with wild mushrooms from my local farmer’s market. I couldn’t wait to eat it.

I didn’t realize there was going to be a slight delay.

He walked in, sat down on my couch, and said “I think we need to take a break.”

Now, I’m not a believer in breaks, plus I really wasn’t sure what that meant when two people are casually dating.

“Well, I think we need to break up.”

Now, I was quite confused. How do you break up with someone who you weren’t even officially dating in the first place? I personally had planned on using the line of “I don’t think we should see each other any more,” but that’s just me.

And then, the piece de resistance…

“Is there any way I can take home a piece of lasagna?”

As you can probably guess, I ordered him to get out of my house. Without food.

P.S. My coworkers came over the next day for dinner, since, after all, I had a huge delicious lasagna to eat.

No Doggie Bags Wild Mushroom Lasagna

if he was smart, he would have waited until after dinner

Ingredients

  • 2 lb wild mushrooms (if you can’t find wild mushrooms, use cremini or portobello)
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp worchestershire sauce
  • 8 oz fat-free cottage cheese
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1/2 c flour
  • 4 c skim milk
  • 3 tablespoons garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 + 1/4 c parmesan cheese
  • 1 lb whole-wheat lasagna noodles
  • Olive oil
  • Cooking spray
  • Salt
  • Pepper

How-to

  1. In a large saute pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Remove stems from mushrooms and slice thinly. Add to olive oil, along with worchestershire sauce. Cook for approximately 5 minutes or until mushrooms become soft and start to release liquid. Put mushrooms in a bowl to let cool.
  2. When mushrooms are cool, add fat-free cottage cheese. Salt and pepper to taste. Add egg and mix thoroughly.
  3. In a large pot, melt butter over low heat. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly for 1 minute.
  4. Switch to a whisk. Whisk in milk slowly so it is incorporated. Add garlic. Increase heat to medium-low and cook for 5-10 minutes (the whisk is best at first and then you can switch back to a spoon) until the mixture becomes thick and coats the back of the spoon (you know the trick where you run your finger down the middle of the spoon and the sauce stays on either side? that’s what you’re looking for).
  5. To sauce, add nutmeg and 1/2 c parmesan cheese. Salt and pepper to taste.
  6. In another large pot, bring a large quantity of heavily salted (I’m talking a near handful here!) water to a boil. Cook lasagna noodles to 1 minute less than package directions (you want it just shy of al dente). Drain and add a little bit of olive oil so they don’t stick.
  7. Finally, lasagna prep time! Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  8. Coat a lasagna pan (or 9×13 in baking dish) with cooking spray. Add a small amount of the cream sauce and spread a thin layer on the bottom of the pan. Place a layer of lasagna noodles. Add in 1/2 of the mushroom mixture, then 1/3 of the cream sauce.
  9. Repeat with another layer of the lasagna noodles, the rest of the mushroom mixture, and another 1/3 of the sauce.
  10. Top with a final layer of lasagna noodles and the rest of the cream sauce. Sprinkle on 1/4 c parmesan cheese.
  11. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until top is brown and bubbly. Remove from oven and let cool for 15 minutes before serving.

I know the recipe looks rather complicated, but it comes together fairly quickly! Saute the mushrooms first, then make the sauce and boil the noodles at the same time. My coworker, good friend, and fellow blogger Colleen can promise it’s delicious!

9FMKHTNGUPW2

Boyfriends and Baked Potato Salad

You can never make assumptions in medicine.

I once walked into my elderly patient’s room, where she was accompanied by a gentleman sitting there caressing her hand. I went through the general questions of the admission: what brought her here, what other medical conditions she had, what drugs she took.

And then, I said the wrong thing.

Mind you, this patient was a fairly spry 98 year old woman who didn’t look a day over 80, accompanied by a man who looked to be approximately 60 (though I had no idea of his real age).

Me (to patient): And I’m assuming that this handsome gentleman here with you is your husband?

Patient (appalled): Excuuuuse me, missy, this man is my boy-friend.

Me (stuttering): I’m so sorry for making that assumption, ma’am. My most sincere apologies.

Patient (proudly): Yup, at my age I can still bag ‘em and tag ‘em. But I’m just here to have fun, you know? No need to waste good money on a wedding when we can waste it on other things, right doll?

This last bit said to the patient’s boyfriend, who had not yet spoken, but found it wise to answer a simple “yup”.

Bag ‘em and Tag ‘em Baked Potato Salad

Perfect for obtaining that significant other…no engagement ring required

Ingredients

  • 3 lb redskin potatoes, cut into 1-in chunks
  • 1 c reduced-fat cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 c fresh chives
  • 1/2 c light mayonnaise (I prefer the olive oil versions)
  • 1/2 c fat free sour cream
  • 1/2 c fat-free plain greek yogurt
  • 1/8-1/4 c fat-free milk
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 5 slices cooked bacon, crumbled (optional)

How-to

  1. In a large pot, cover potatoes with cold water. Add a liberal amount of salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer. Cook for approximately 15-20 minutes or until you can pierce potatoes with a fork (not a knife!!).
  2. While potatoes are cooking, mix together mayonnaise, sour cream, and greek yogurt in a large bowl. Thin out with 1/4 c milk. Stir in cheddar cheese, chives, garlic powder, and bacon (optional).
  3. When potatoes are finished cooking, drain and rinse twice in cold water.
  4. Add potatoes to dressing mixture. Add additional milk if necessary to thin to desired consistency.
  5. Salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Chill potato salad for at least 2 hours to allow flavors to meld. Taste again and add additional salt and pepper if necessary before serving.

Feel free to halve recipe if you aren’t serving a crowd!

Psychiatrists and Spaghetti Sauce

There are things that you just don’t want someone to say to you.

While on my Psychiatry rotation, we had two weeks of various outpatient clinics. Now, in my opinion, psychiatrists are some of the most fun doctors out there. They tend to have some of the best senses of humor and they’re always having a great time.

However, my two most awkward moments in medical school did come on behalf of the psychiatry department (and yes, I promise the next story will follow).

So here I was, sitting in addiction clinic. We had a patient end up cancelling, and that meant we had about 45 minutes to chat. We had been talking about a number of issues normally- his new son, my research, the psychiatry curriculum in medical school- and then things took a turn for the worst.

Doctor: So, why aren’t you engaged?

Me (shocked and then attempting to be tactful): Well, I’m single, so that makes it a bit hard to be engaged.

Doctor (in an understanding, reassuring tone): It’s okay, I’m sure you’ll be married by the time you’re 40. And you still should be pretty by then, too.

He then moved on to some other topic, having no idea how insulting that was.

I saw this doctor last week at a conference and he pulled me aside to tell me how I have a brilliant mind. And no, I still haven’t forgiven him.

Get a Husband Tomato Sauce

maybe I should have started making this a while ago…

Ingredients

  • 3 lbs roma tomatoes, quartered
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 4 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 c red wine
  • 6 oz can tomato paste
  • 2 tbsp dried basil
  • 2 tbsp dried oregano
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • Garlic salt

How-to

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Place tomatoes in a roasting pan and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 1.5 hours, checking about every 20-30 minutes to make sure they aren’t burning.
  2. Place tomatoes in a food processor or blender and pulse until it reaches your desired consistency.
  3. In a large pot, saute onion in 3 tbsp olive oil over medium heat until it just starts to become translucent. Add in garlic and saute for an additional minute.
  4. Add in tomatoes, red wine, tomato paste, basil, oregano, and sugar. Simmer over medium-low heat for 30-40 minutes while flavors blend. Your home will smell amazing and neighbors might come knocking at your door.
  5. Use garlic salt and pepper to taste.

P.S. My apologies for being gone so long! It’s a bit difficult to post without the internet or a kitchen!

Laundry and Mushroom Gravy

My first attempt at laundry was a near disaster.

My parents and brothers were off doing some boy scout activity, leaving me home alone for hours.  As a sixth-grader, I felt that the best way to stay out of trouble was to clean my room.  (I also might have been instructed to do so, but that’s miscellaneous information.)

The basic cleaning and dusting tasks were things that I could manage quite well.  However, I decided to be extra-helpful and wash my comforter and bedding. Now, it was a “rite of passage” in my family to pick out your own, very nice comforter that matched your painted room.

Therefore, I lugged down my Laura Ashley comforter and all of the sheets to the basement and analyzed the situation. The dryer was something I was comfortable with, but the washing machine was a whole different story. I had never used it before, but my 11-year-old brain figured it couldn’t be that difficult.

I then proceeded to stuff all of the sheets, bed ruffle, and comforter into the washing machine (it took a lot of effort to cram everything in) and turned the water to medium and heavy load. Next I surveyed my options. There were numerous boxes of powdered stuff, which I had no idea what to use. Then I spotted the only thing I recognized:

Extra Strength Clorox in Spring Floral.

I still maintain to this day that the bottle did not say “bleach” in large letters anywhere.

My only saving grace is that I poured a smaller than recommended amount into the detergent dispenser and not directly into the water, which meant that I ended up only with a comforter with slightly faded flowers BUT the white parts of the design were quite bright.

After learning of my mistake from my mother, I took a break from attempting laundry for a while.

Easy Instructions Peppered Mushroom Wine Gravy

as shown on my flank steak

Ingredients

  • 8 oz baby bella mushrooms (can also use white button or portobello), sliced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp pepper
  • 3 tbsp worchestershire sauce
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 1/2 c red wine
  • 1 c skim milk (could substitute vegetable broth if desired)
  • Salt

How-to

  1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat until shimmery.
  2. Add in mushrooms, onion, and pepper. Saute for 5 minutes.
  3. Add worchestershire sauce and cook for an additional 2 minutes.
  4. Sprinkle flour over mushroom mixture, reduce heat to low, and stir until you can’t see any white granules (be sure to scrape bottom of the pan)
  5. Add in red wine and return heat to medium.
  6. Stir in milk, 1/2 c at a time. Cook for a low simmer for 10-15 minutes, stirring and scraping bottom of the pan every few minutes, until gravy is to desired consistency. Salt and pepper to taste.

Serve over steak, roasts, mashed potatoes, poultry, et cetera. If reheating for later use, heat in a small saucepan with an additional 1/4 c skim milk until smooth.

Dating Disasters and Cold Weather Chowders

I have had many disastrous dates.  However, one guy has the prize for committing so many errors in just one evening.

It is partially my fault, since I hesitantly agreed to this date. I should have listened to my gut feeling…but I thought I’d be nice, give the guy a chance, and agreed.

I was slightly confused when he picked me up and his dog was in the car.  Now, this date was in winter, and I don’t know that many people who let their dog chill in their car when it’s cold outside in Michigan.

Surprise #1: “Sorry the dog is in here- I have to drop her off at my parents’ house before dinner.”

When we arrived at their house, I then had surprise #2- his mother and father both came running outside to meet me.

“Oh, you must be Megan!  We have heard so much about you and we are SOOOO happy to meet you!!!”

Now, I don’t like to meet parents until I have been dating a guy for a while, and I certainly don’t like to meet parents while on the first date.  I also barely knew this guy, and the fact that his parents had already “heard so much about” me was a bit alarming.

When we finally arrived at the restaurant, surprise #3 was right around the corner. “I really want to get married within the next year, and you seem perfect.”

And the piece de resistance, surprise #4. “So it looks like I forgot my wallet at home.  You can pay for your dinner and mine. After all, you’re going to be a rich doctor some day.”

Now I realize that mistakes happen, but at least say that.  I normally offer to pay for my half of the meal, but don’t tell me to pay for your dinner, too. And second, just because I’m going to be a doctor some day, does not mean that I don’t currently have over $250,000 in debt from medical school.

If you’re wondering, after mistake #4, I paid for my half of the meal and called a friend to come pick me up…I figured that he could call his parents to come bail him out instead. ;)

Skip the Date and Stay Indoors Spicy Corn and Pepper Chowder

Ingredients

  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 can creamed corn
  • 2 bell peppers, diced (I prefer red)
  • 1 bag frozen corn, thawed
  • 2 c cooked chicken, shredded (optional)
  • 2 c chicken or vegetable broth
  • 2 c skim milk
  • 1/2 c salsa
  • 5 tbsp tabasco sauce
  • 2 tbsp fat-free greek yogurt
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch

How-to

  1. In a large stockpot, saute onion and garlic in olive oil until translucent.
  2. Stir in the rest of the ingredients except for the cornstarch and cook over medium heat for 20-30 minutes or until bell peppers and corn are tender.
  3. Mix cornstarch in 1/4 c cold water and mix into the chowder.  Cook for an additional 10 minutes until thick and creamy.

Mistake #4 and Enchiladas

To begin, this is a continuation of “Stalking for Cheesecake,” where I said I would eventually tell mistake #4.

Here it is.

At this point in time, the stalker in question has been showing up on a weekly basis for the past two months.  He had originally been calling and texting me multiple times, but I blocked his number.  Thankfully, his sobs were loud enough that I could hear them outside my window, and thus I was saved from the misfortune of buzzing someone in (you can’t always see who is standing at the door) and then opening the door to him man-sobbing.

That is, until mistake #4 happened.  First, it was raining outside, which drowned out the sobs.  Second, my friend was on her way over and I still buzzed the person in, even though I couldn’t see who was outside the door.

I then opened my apartment door to the sobbing stalker (aka SS) and sighed.

SS: So my grandfather just died…

Me: Oh, I’m sorry for your loss.

SS: Anyway, we were going through his house, and I found these wine bottle stoppers and thought they would be the perfect gift for you, so here they are. (SS then proceeds to hand me a package of vacuum wine bottle stoppers, still in the original faded packaging that appeared to be from the early 1990s)

Me: You brought me wine bottle stoppers from your DEAD GRANDFATHER’S HOUSE?

SS: Well yeah, I thought it was the perfect gift.

Now, I’m sorry, but I don’t think that most people want things like this from the deceased whom they have never met.  At least, I certainly didn’t.

The very positive part of this story is that after I informed him to leave my apartment, he finally stopped showing up sobbing after 2 months.

Go Away Stalker Healthier Enchiladas

Ingredients

  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 14 oz low-sodium chicken broth (make your own or use 1 can)
  • 2 14 oz cans fire-roasted tomatoes
  • 1 can chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
  • 2 tbsp dark chocolate chips
  • 2 c protein (cooked shredded chicken or turkey, cooked and diced shrimp, or rinsed black beans) or 1 package frozen spinach, thawed and drained (or you could use 2 c any other roasted vegetable- zucchini, peppers, etc!)
  • 1 c fat-free sour cream
  • 1 1/2 reduced fat mexican blend cheeses
  • 2 cans diced green chilis (don’t drain)
  • 8 whole-wheat tortillas, burrito size (if you’d rather use corn, heat them so they don’t break when you fill them)
  • 1 c pepper jack cheese, grated
  • Cooking spray

How-to

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Saute garlic and onion in olive oil over medium heat until onion just becomes translucent.  Add in chicken broth, fire roasted tomatoes, and dark chocolate chips.
  3. Determine level of desired spiciness- I prefer dicing up the entire can of chipotle peppers (extra spicy), but feel free to just use 1 chipotle pepper diced and 1 tsp adobo sauce.
  4. Cook sauce while simmering for 15 minutes over medium heat.  Voila- homemade enchilada sauce!
  5. While sauce is cooking, mix together protein or vegetables, sour cream, mexican blend cheese, and green chilis with their liquid. Divide mixture up into 8 equal portions (feel free to just divide in mixing bowl).
  6. Spray lasagna pan or 9x13in baking dish with cooking spray.
  7. Place 1/8 filling mixture into middle of tortilla, roll, and place seam side down in baking dish. Repeat with the other tortillas.
  8. Pour enchilada sauce over tortillas and top with pepper jack cheese.
  9. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 45-60 minutes or until bubbling (normally 60 minutes in my oven).  Remove foil and return to oven for 10 minutes while cheese browns.

Serves 8 (and makes great leftovers, too!)

Stalking for Cheesecake

I’ve had some unfortunate run-ins with guys, but not have been worse than the creepy stalker.

I had hung out with this guy and knew he just wasn’t my type and I didn’t want to see him again. I was very busy with med school (try being a third year in the midst of our annual musical) and literally barely had time to sleep.

First, he started calling me.  While I was at clinic.  And you can’t answer your phone in clinic (who wants their doctor answering the phone in clinic?)  He called me NINE TIMES. And continually texted me because I couldn’t talk to him right then.

I called him while I was driving home from clinic.  Where he made mistake #2….

“Why haven’t you called me?  You’re supposed to call me on a daily basis. Because you’re my girlfriend.”

#1, I already was going to tell him I had never wanted to see him again. #2, we had barely hung out and I DEFINITELY was not his girlfriend.  I then proceeded to tell him exactly that.

That night, my doorbell rang.  Standing outside my door was this guy.  Crying. And not just tears in his eyes, but full-on man sobs that should be reserved for events like your wife or child dying. And during these sobs he begged me to take him back (which made no sense because I never had him in the first place).  I told him to go home and leave me alone.

And then mistake #3…he showed up at my door sobbing on a weekly basis for the next 2 months.

Mistake #4 deserves a blog post all to itself.

Stalker Inspiring Low-Fat New York Cheesecake

Ingredients for crust

  • 1 1/2 c graham cracker crumbs (about 24 squares)
  • 1/4 c sugar
  • 1/3 c melted butter

How-to

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Mix together ingredients and press into a pie pan, preferably glass.
  3. Bake for 8 minutes until golden brown

Ingredients for filling

  • 8 oz Neuchâtel cheese or low-fat cream cheese
  • 1/2 c sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp lemon juice
  • 2 eggs

How-to

  1. While pie shell is baking, beat cream cheese until fluffy. Add in sugar, vanilla, and lemon juice. Add in eggs one at a time and beat for 2 minutes.
  2. Remove pie shells from oven and decrease temperature to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
  3. Pour in filling and bake for 20-30 minutes until the top is golden brown and firm.

Ingredients for topping

  • 1 c fat-free sour cream
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tbsp sugar

How-to

  1. Mix together sour cream, vanilla, and sugar.
  2. When filling is down baking, pour on topping and return cheesecake to oven for 10-15 minutes until top is nearly firm. Let cool for 1 hour and then keep chilled.

Ham and Bacon…or Why I’m No Longer a Vegetarian

Starting in middle school, I became a vegetarian.  A lot of it was for health reason,s combined with an unfortunately assigned report on meat-packing plants (not the best choice for a city girl like myself who pretended that all meat originated at the grocery story).

I was a vegetarian for 6 years.  I still ate dairy and seafood, but I had no meat during that whole time. In general I thought it was pretty easy, even with living in the midwest and our lack of vegetables in the winter.

And then, one year in high school, my mother made a ham for Christmas dinner.  Now, back in my meat-eating days, I LOVED ham.  And bacon. And pork chops.  It was pretty much a guarantee that if it came from a pig, I’d probably have eaten it.

The memory is a bit hazy, but I remember walking into the kitchen, led by the smell of that brown-sugar glazed ham.  No one else was around but me. Without hesitating, I first ate one piece, and then another, and then another…until my mother eventually walked into the kitchen…

“Oh my god you just ate half the ham.  OH MY GOD MARC MEGAN IS EATING MEAT!!!!!  SINCE WHEN DO YOU EAT MEAT???  OH THANK GOD YOU CAN EAT LIKE THE REST OF US AGAIN!!”

Yes, most of that was said in a shriek. I had, after all, eaten nearly half a ham.  Quite surprisingly  I didn’t feel sick later at all (though attempting to eat poultry or steak again was a wholeeeeee different story).

Spicy Glazed Bacon-Wrapped Water Chestnuts

Ingredients

  • 1 package thick-sliced bacon, rashers cut into thirds
  • 2 cans whole water chestnuts
  • 1/4 c barbecue sauce
  • 3 tbsp sriracha sauce (also known as rooster sauce- can add more to taste if you like them really spicy)
  • 3 tbsp packed brown sugar
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp pepper

How-to

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Cut bacon slices (rashers are the technical term) into thirds.  Wrap each water chestnut in 1/3 piece bacon and secure with a toothpick. Place onto a shallow roasting pan lined with aluminum foil (makes for easier cleanup).
  3. Bake water chestnuts for approximately 40 minutes or until the bacon is a golden brown.
  4. While water chestnuts are in the oven, mix together the barbecue sauce, sriracha, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, vinegar, and pepper. Taste and adjust flavorings to taste (more salty- more Worcestershire, more spice- more sriracha, more sweet- more brown sugar, more tang- more soy sauce).
  5. When bacon is golden, remove from oven. Remove water chestnuts from pan and place onto paper towels to drain. Discard grease in roasting pan.
  6. Dip each water chestnut into the sauce mixture and place back on the roasting pan. Return to oven for approximately 15-20 minutes.  Serve with remaining dipping sauce.

If you’d like, you can skip steps 5 & 6 and use this method instead.  Remove water chestnuts from oven and place into a small crock-pot on high.  Pour sauce on top and gently toss to coat.  Heat in crock pot for 30 minutes, then turn heat to low for serving purposes right out of the crock pot!

Lipstick and Lasagna

I dated this Italian guy for a bit…very polite, good sense of humor, extremely nice…if anything, I couldn’t figure out why he was still single.

Then we finally hooked up, and I immediately understood why.

First off, I’m going to give you the mental image of a lipstick case, and I really don’t think I need to add any more details.  Secondly, if you’re cursed with that one normally finds a way to compensate, and he hadn’t.  It was HORRIBLE.  Remember when you first started hooking up and thought that everything was great, but then you realized that there was good and bad?  This guy hadn’t progressed beyond that first stage yet, and considering that he was older than me, he definitely should have.  Or at least you would have expected him to.

I then was put in the awkward situation where I had to end it with the guy without him realizing the reason why (yes, the entire experience was that horrible).  I’ll admit I totally did the “guy method”…just started contacting him less and less until it ended…which actually worked wonderfully (no wonder people use it!).

I still can’t see a lipstick case without it bringing back bad memories…

Always Satisfying Vegetable Lasagna

Ingredients

  • 1 regular sized eggplant
  • Olive oil spray and olive oil
  • Salt & pepper
  • 1 box whole-wheat lasagna noodles
  • 6 c tomato sauce (homemade or use 2 regular jars)
  • 16 oz container part-skim ricotta
  • 16 oz fat-free cottage cheese
  • 3 tbsp pesto
  • 1 tsp garlic salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 egg
  • 12 oz part-skim mozzarella, shredded or sliced
  • Parsley (optional)

How-to

  1. Cook lasagna noodles according to package instructions (you probably won’t use the entire box), drain, then toss with 1 tsp olive oil to prevent sticking.
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and coat 2 cookie sheet pans with olive oil spray (buy a small spray bottle just for olive oil, or buy olive oil cooking spray at the store).
  3. Slice eggplant 1/4 in thick and lay on cookie sheets, then sprinkle with salt and pepper and spray tops with olive oil.
  4. Roast eggplant for 15 minutes or until golden brown, spraying again with olive oil halfway through.
  5. Lower oven temperature to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  6. In a bowl, mix together ricotta, cottage cheese, pesto, garlic salt, garlic powder, oregano, pepper, and egg until well-combined.
  7. Place one layer lasagna noodles in the bottom of the pan. Top with 1/3 sauce, 1/2 ricotta mixture, all of the roasted eggplant, and 1/3 of the mozzarella.
  8. Top with another layer of lasagna noodles, followed by 1/3 sauce, the rest of the ricotta, and 1/3 mozzarella.
  9. Top with a final layer of noodles, the rest of the tomato sauce, and the rest of the mozzarella.  Sprinkle parsley on top for color.
  10. Cover with aluminum foil and cook for 30 minutes.
  11. Remove aluminum foil and place lasagna back into the oven for an additional 10 minutes uncovered for cheese to melt and brown.

Feel free to substitute as you wish…perhaps using 1 lb zucchini (roasted in the same manner) or 2 c drained, cooked spinach in place of the eggplant, meat sauce in place of regular tomato, et cetera!